"On Dec. 18, 2017, the investigating judge granted permission to conduct pre-trial investigation in absentia against Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko and five other persons who were members of the crime ring led by the mentioned MP according to the indictment brought against them.
“The court actually granted the prosecution a possibility to complete the collection of evidence in the case and take the final decision under article 283 of Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code. Taking into account available evidence, bringing indictments will be the most likely decision taken," the agency said.
SAP notes that the suspects are not barred from visiting Ukraine which makes them able to fight the case personally.
On March 16, the NABU raided the office of Onyshchenko. It stated the searches were carried out under the pre-trial investigation into abuse of office during the sale of natural gas extracted jointly with Ukrhazvydobuvannia SE.
Later, the NABU requested the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) to remove the immunity from people's deputy Onyshchenko. Moreover, the NABU and the PGO claim Onyshchenko is involved in embezzlement of 1.6 billion hryvnia (approx. $64.02 million).
On June 16, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko issued a motion requesting Verkhovna Rada's consent for criminal prosecution, arrest, and pre-trial detention of Onyshchenko. On July 5, the parliament approved the detention and arrest of the lawmaker.
The suspect himself stated he was busy with the preparation for the upcoming Olympics and not going to react to NABU's actions. On July 29, Onyshchenko said he was in the U.K. and had applied for political asylum.
Read more: MP Onyshchenko has records of Poroshenko discussing buying votes and Ukrhazvydobuvannia's shadow dividends, - Dzerkalo Tyzhnia
On Dec. 1, 2016, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced it suspected fugitive MP Onyshchenko of high treason. As noted, the MP acquired Russian citizenship in exchange for cooperation with Russian authorities to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. On the same day, Onyshchenko said he had provided compromising materials against President Poroshenko to the U.S. intelligence.